Wireless Emergency Alert System Doing First National Test Wednesday
Don't be alarmed come Wednesday afternoon.
According to the National Weather Service, all cell phones registered in the United States will receive a special alert as part of the first ever national test. Expect the alert around 1:18 p.m. central time.
You can not turn these alerts off. It's also important to note that NOAA weather radios will not go off.
Make a reminder on your calendar so you aren't alarmed when it goes off.
Want to know how these alerts work? The National Weather Service Twin Cities explained on their Facebook page earlier this week:
Step One: It starts with the National Weather Service, who issues a warning for a location based on big weather threats. These threats include tornadoes, hurricanes, dust storms and more.
Step Two: From there, authenticated alerts (like those from the National Weather Service and other similar organizations) are sent through FEMA's Integrated Public Alert & Warning System.
Step Three: Those alerts are pushed to over 100 wireless carriers.
Step Four: Cell towers receive the alerts and push them to cell phones in the area.
Step Five: The alert appears on your phone.
The alerts are free and NOT impacted by network congestion, which is fantastic in emergencies.
While you may roll your eyes at these alerts, they are very important. Sometimes the weather doesn't look as bad as it really is, we are not paying attention to the forecast or a system moves in fast. The alert could be life-saving in all of the reasons mentioned.
The Wireless Emergency Alert system is also used for presidential alerts and AMBER alerts, which also help to save lives if a child is in danger.